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The best travel credit cards in Canada for 2023

Natasha-M 1
Natasha Macmillan, Business Unit Director - Everyday Banking

November 29, 2023

Travel credit cards can be one of the best ways to lower the cost of travel, by rewarding you with hotel points, miles and more, just by making everyday purchases. Find the best travel credit cards for 2023 from our carefully chosen selection.

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Canada's best travel credit cards at a glance

The best rewards cards for
  1. Annual fee
    1pt – 5pts / dollar earn rate
    Interest rates
    Purchase interest: 20.99%
    Cash advance: 23.99%
    Balance transfer: 23.99%
    Welcome bonus
    earn up to 70,000 points and the annual fee waived in the first year for both the primary cardholder and authorized users.
  2. Annual fee
    1pt – 5pts / dollar earn rate
    Interest rates
    Purchase interest: 20.99%
    Cash advance: 21.99%
    Balance transfer: N/A
    Welcome bonus
    earn 1,250 points for each month you spend $750, up to a maximum of 15,000 points.
  3. Annual fee
    1pt – 2pts / dollar earn rate
    Interest rates
    Purchase interest: 20.99%
    Cash advance: 22.99%
    Balance transfer: 22.99%
    Welcome bonus
    earn up to $1,100+ in value in the first 12 months, including up to 35,000 bonus Scene+ points. Offer ends January 3, 2024.
  4. Annual fee
    1.25pts – 3pts / dollar earn rate
    Interest rates
    Purchase interest: 20.99%
    Cash advance: 21.99%
    Balance transfer: N/A
    Welcome bonus
    Earn up to 90,000 Aeroplan points.
    Anniversary bonus
    Earn 35,000 Aeroplan points when you spend $6,000 in net purchases between 13 and 16 months of Cardmembership.

Our methodology: how we choose the best travel cards

How to choose the best travel credit card - frequently asked questions

What is the best credit card for travel points?

Do travel credit card rewards expire?

Do you need a credit card to travel?

How do I maximize my travel credit card's rewards?

Best travel credit cards in Canada for 2023 - by category

Best overall travel credit card


Earn $510/yrbased on spending $2,200/moafter $156 annual fee

Redemption flexibility


You can redeem points against any eligible purchase charged to your Card's take

The American Express Cobalt has solidified its position as one of Canada’s best travel credit cards in 2023. If you’re looking for a versatile and rewarding travel credit card that excels both in everyday spending and travel, the American Express Cobalt is your ideal choice. Cardholders can take advantage of the strong travel insurance, a generous welcome offer, and flexible point redemption options. 


  • Generous welcome bonus: earn 1,250 points for each month you spend $750, up to a maximum of 15,000 points.
  • Exceptional point earning: 5x the points on eligible restaurant, food delivery, and groceries 3x the points on eligible streaming services, 2x the points on ride shares, daily transit, and gas. The earning potential for restaurants and takeout is significantly higher than most other cards
  • Flexible point redemption: Easily redeemable Membership Rewards for travel, gift cards, merchandise, or purchases. Frequent flyers can also transfer their points 1:1 to several loyalty programs
  • Exclusive access: Enjoy privileges such as Front of the Line Presale and Reserved tickets to concerts, theatre performances, movie screenings, culinary events, and other special offers
  • Comprehensive travel insurance: Benefit from a strong travel insurance package, including up to $5,000,000 in travel emergency medical 
  • No additional fee for authorized users: Add authorized users for no extra cost (an average fee of $30 - 50 on other comparable cards) 


  • Monthly fee: A monthly fee of $12.99 (coming to an annual fee of $156, which is higher than most other rewards cards 
  • Limited acceptance: American Express isn’t as widely accepted in Canada compared to Visa and Mastercard
  • Travel insurance age limitations: The travel insurance package does not cover trip cancellation or medical coverage for cardholders over the age of 65
  • Lack of airport lounge access: Frequent travellers may be disappointed as this card does not offer access to airport lounges

Honourable mention for best overall travel credit card


Earn $580/yrbased on spending $2,200/moafter $120 annual fee

Redemption flexibility


Redeem your points against any travel purchase on your statement's take

The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card earns an honourable mention as one of the best overall travel credit cards, offering outstanding benefits to cardholders. This card stand out as a top choice for travelers, thanks to its exceptional return on spending and a variety of travel-related advantages. This card is particularly lucrative for those who frequently dine out, travel, and seek out entertainment. The Scotiabank Gold American Express card is a great travel companion offering significant savings. 


  • No foreign exchange fee: Save on foreign currency purchases while travelling abroad or shopping online, as this card doesn't charge the typical 2.5% foreign transaction fee
  • Extensive insurance coverage: Enjoy comprehensive travel insurance, including the $1 million travel medical insurance, which lasts for 25 days and is one of the longer coverage periods available on the market
  • High return on spending: Earn 5 points per $1 spent on groceries, restaurants, food delivery, and entertainment - one of the best in class multipliers in the market. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on gas and transit expenses. 
  • Great welcome bonus: earn up to $650 in value in the first 12 months, including up to 40,000 bonus Scene+ points. Must apply by July 1, 2024.
  • Access to VIP airport lounges: Enjoy access to VIP airport lounges and benefit from around the clock concierge services 


  • Limited acceptance: American Express isn’t as widely accepted in Canada compared to Visa and Mastercard
  • Annual Fee: This card carries an annual fee of $120

Best no fee travel credit card


Earn $264/yrbased on spending $2,200/moafter $0 annual fee

Redemption flexibility


Get the Card that lets you live in the moment while getting ready for the future. The American Express® Green Card lets you go for it with every swipe or tap of your Card's take

The American Express Green Card takes the crown for best no fee travel credit card due to its attractive welcome bonus, point accelerator for travel purchases, redemption flexibility, and travel-related perks. 


  • No annual fee: Enjoy the card's travel benefits without an annual fee
  • Welcome bonus: earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you charge $1,000 in purchases to your card in the first three months of cardmembership.
  • Double points on travel: Effectively double your points when booking travel through American Express Travel
  • Flexible redemption options: Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, everyday purchases, or eligible purchases at
  • Transferable points: Transfer your points 1:1 to several frequent flyer and loyalty programs like Aeroplan and Marriott Bonvoy, making it easier to save on flights and accommodations while abroad


  • Standard earn rate: The standard earn rate of 1 point per $1 may not be as competitive as other no fee rewards cards
  • Limited insurance coverage: The insurance package includes extended warranty and purchase protection only, lacking some comprehensive coverage offered by other no fee credit card

Best travel credit card with no foreign transaction fee 


Earn $207/yrbased on spending $2,200/moafter $150 annual fee

Redemption flexibility


Redeem your points against any travel purchase on your statements's take

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card is your ideal travel companion, designed for Canadians who travel abroad and explore the world. It is one of few cards waiving foreign transaction fees and includes valuable travel benefits. 


  • No foreign transaction fee: Save 2.5% on all non-Canadian currency purchases 
  • Scene+ points: Earn three Scene+ points per $1 spent at participating grocery stores (e.g., Sobey's, IGA, and FreshCo) and two Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining, entertainment, and daily transit purchases
  • Flexible redemption: Enjoy flexible point redemption options including for travel, groceries, statement credits, gift cards, and movie tickets
  • Airport lounge access: Access airport lounges with six free visits per year to over 1,200 lounges worldwide
  • Visa Infinite benefits: Benefit from the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection, Visa Infinite Dining series, and complimentary Avis Preferred Plus membership
  • Comprehensive travel insurance: Enjoy coverage for emergency medical, trip cancellation/interruption, and flight delay, and more


  • Annual fee: The annual fee of $150 is higher than some comparable cards
  • Point return: The earn rate for certain spending categories like dining and entertainment is lower compared to other cards 

Best Visa travel credit card


Earn $333/yrbased on spending $2,200/moafter $139 annual fee

Redemption flexibility


Redeem your points through ExpediaTD with no flight or date restrictions's take

The TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite is your passport to travel rewards, offering flexible options and value for frequent travellers looking for a Visa credit card with travel points. 


  • Welcome bonus: earn up to 115,000 TD Rewards points. Conditions apply. Account must be approved by January 3, 2024.
  • Anniversary bonus: null
  • Earn points: Earn 8 TD Points per $1 on travel through Expedia for TD, 6 TD Points per $1 on groceries and restaurants, 4 TD Points per $1 on recurring bill payments, and 2 TD Points per $1 on everything else
  • Flexible redemption: Redeem points on flights, hotels, car rentals and more through Expedia for TD, which points redeemable in increments as low as 200 (one dollar) 
  • Exclusive offers: Enjoy 10% off car rentals from select Avis and Budget locations and an annual discount to Priority Pass Memberships
  • Extensive travel package: Enjoy comprehensive travel insurance, including emergency travel medical (up to $2 million), trip cancellation/interruption, and more


  • Income requirement: A minimum personal income of $60,00 and annual fee may limit eligibility for some users
  • Point value: Other cards offer high point values for specific spending categories like dining and entertainment
  • No complimentary airport lounge access: While there's no complimentary airport lounge access, users can benefit from a 20% discount on Priority Pass membership)
  • No waived foreign transaction fees: Foreign transaction fees are not waived, so consider this if you plan to use the card for shopping abroad 

Best Mastercard travel credit card


Earn $142/yrbased on spending $2,200/moafter $150 annual fee

Redemption flexibility


Redeem your points using with no flight or date restrictions take

The BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard is a favoured choice among frequent travellers, particularly those who prefer a Mastercard and spend significantly on dining out and airfare. This card offers a suite of benefits that cater to travel enthusiasts. 


  • Generous welcome bonus: earn up to 70,000 points and the annual fee waived in the first year for both the primary cardholder and authorized users.
  • Earn points: Earn three points per $1 spent on restaurant, entertainment purchases, and recurring bills, and one point per $1 spent on everything else
  • Comprehensive insurance package: Recognized for one of the best insurance packages in the market, including $5 million in out-of-country insurance, exceeding the standard $1 million in coverage offered by most other cards
  • 24/7 concierge services: Enjoy around-the-clock concierge services for your travel needs
  • Airport lounge access: Receive complimentary membership in Mastercard Travel Pass, including four annual complimentary passes
  • Redemption flexibility: Enhanced flexibility to redeem points for flights on virtually any airline with no blackout dates (points can be used to cover taxes and fees as well)


  • Income requirements: The card's minimum personal income of $80,000 and annual fee of $150 may limit accessibility for some users

Best travel credit card for travel insurance 


Earn $423/yrbased on spending $2,200/moafter $150 annual fee

Redemption flexibility


Redeem your points through their À la carte Rewards program with no flight or date restrictions's take

The National Bank World Elite Mastercard is renowned for its exceptional travel insurance coverage and favourable terms for seniors, making it a strong contender among travel credit cards.


  • Extensive travel insurance: Enjoy comprehensive travel insurance, including extended emergency medical insurance coverage for seniors that will cover you for 15 days of travel 
  • Points earning: Earn up to five points per $1 spent on eligible grocery and restaurant purchases, and two points per $1 spent on eligible gas and electric vehicle charging purchases, recurring bill payments and a la carte travel purchases
  • Travel expense refunds: Receive up to $150 each year in refunds for airport parking, seat selection, check-in fees, airline ticket upgrades and access to airport lounges worldwide
  • Airport lounge access: Enjoy free and unlimited access along with one guest to the National Bank World Mastercard Lounge at Montréal-Trudeau airport
  • Welcome bonus: earn up to 30,000 welcome bonus points.


  • Annual fee: The $150 annual fee is slightly higher than average for this type of card
  • Lounge access limitations: The complimentary lounge access only applies to Montreal airport
  • Income requirement: The annual income requirement of $80,000 may be a barrier for some users

Best airline travel credit card


Earn $777/yrbased on spending $2,200/moafter $139 annual fee

Redemption flexibility


Redeem through your Aeroplan account, limited to certain airlines and dates's take

For Aeroplan clients and frequent Air Canada fliers, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card offers exceptional benefits for earning more on travel and is the ultimate airline travel credit card.


  • Impressive welcome bonus: earn up to 35,000 Aeroplan points. Conditions apply. Account must be approved by January 3, 2024. 
  • Anniversary bonus: earn 15,000 Aeroplan points. Conditions apply. Account must be approved by January 3, 2024.
  • Aeroplan redemption: Redeem Aeroplan points for flights on Air Canada or over 27 Star Alliance member airlines, including United Airlines and Lufthansa to name a few
  • Air Canada perks: Access Air Canada perks, including the first bag checked free for the primary cardholder and up to eight travel companions, potentially saving up to $30 per traveller on flights across Canada and the US). Plus, earn credits towards achieving elite airline status
  • Nexus Membership reimbursement: Receive up to $100 in Nexus Membership reimbursements every 48 months, facilitating smoother cross-border travel within Canada or to the US
  • Comprehensive travel insurance: Enjoy a comprehensive travel insurance package, including up to 21 days of out-of-province/country medical emergency coverage, flight delay insurance, lost/delayed baggage insurance, and even hotel/motel burglary insurance for stays within the US and Canada
  • Double Aeroplan points: Get double the Aeroplan points when using this card in conjunction with your Aeroplan card at participating retailers


  • Annual fee: The card’s annual fee is $139, which is slightly higher than the $120 typically found on comparable rewards cards
  • Complex points program: The Aeroplan points program isn’t the most straightforward, and navigating your way around the program’s quite elaborate rewards chart / understanding how to best maximize points can require considerable effort. Note that Aeroplan points can only be redeemed on Air Canada and Star Alliance Members

Best hotel travel credit card


Earn $497/yrbased on spending $2,200/moafter $120 annual fee

Redemption flexibility


Redeem your points for hotel nights at participating Marriot Bonvoy properties or book flights at's take

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card is tailor-made for hotel rewards, making it an excellent choice for frequent travellers seeking hotel-related benefits and one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. 


  • Extensive hotel network: Access more than 7,000 hotels worldwide under the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program
  • Annual free night: Enjoy an annual free night’s accommodation at any Marriott Bonvoy hotel 
  • Silver Elite status: Receive complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status
  • Points earning: Earn five Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on eligible card purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program, and two Bonvoy points per dollar on all other card purchases
  • Versatile redemption: Redeem points for free nights at more than two dozen hotel brands, including Marriott, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, W Hotels, St. Regis, Ritz Carlton, Sheraton and Delta


  • Travel insurance limitations: The card does not include travel emergency medical insurance within its insurance package

Everything you need to know about travel credit cards

How do travel cards work?

Fundamentally, all travel credit cards in Canada work the same way: for each dollar you spend on the card, you earn points or miles that can be redeemed to partially or fully cover travel expenses. The more you spend, the more points or miles you earn, allowing you to maximize your travel savings.

However, outside of these fundamental aspects, the details around reward redemption and the value of each point or mile can differ depending on the specific credit card and its rewards program. We touch on some of the major differences between credit card travel programs below.

Why get a travel card?

Travel credit cards can save you money on travel expenses through the collection and redemption of points or miles. The points or miles you collect by using these cards for everyday purchases can be exchanged for discounts on flights, accommodations, and car rentals (just to name a few). Not only that, but some travel credit cards also come with added perks such as VIP airport lounge access, complimentary checked baggage, and priority boarding.

In addition, travel credit cards often carry extensive insurance benefits, including (but not limited to) flight interruption/cancellation, baggage loss/delay, emergency medical, and car rental collision loss/damage.

How to choose a travel credit card?

With Canadians enjoying more choice thanks to an ever-growing array of travel credit cards, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to pick the one that works best for you. Luckily, by educating yourself about a few key features, it can be easier to select the card that matches your needs and spending habits the most. Here are some important things to consider:

Sign-up bonus

  • While bigger is generally better when it comes to sign-up bonuses, consider whether the card is the right fit for you in the long run. Simply put, don’t let an offer alone sway you into picking a particular card since you’ll likely keep it even after the offer ends.
  • You’ll also want to get familiar with the terms of the sign-up offer, as you may need to hit a minimum spend within a specific time frame in order to qualify for the bonus (i.e. making at least $1,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months of opening your account)

Earn rate

There are two kinds of earn rates:

  • Flat earn rate that offers the same number of points across the board for all types of spending – ideal for those who prefer simplicity and whose spending doesn’t skew to particular categories.
  • Bonus earn rate that offers a higher return on specific categories like gas, groceries, or dining. To maximize rewards, you should ensure that any revved-up bonus categories match your spending patterns.


  • General travel cards offer great flexibility by letting you redeem miles or points for a range of items, including flights on any airline — an ideal option if you don’t favour a particular carrier.
  • Co-branded cards only let you redeem points with select partners, however, they often feature airline or hotel-specific benefits and perks typically not available on cards that aren’t affiliated with a specific loyalty program (i.e. free checked bags and discounts on companion flights).

Perks and benefits

  • While not as eye-catching as a big welcome bonus, perks can save you lots of money and make flying or hotel stays more enjoyable.
  • Important benefits to look out for include insurance (like medical, lost baggage, and hotel theft), rental car discounts, and airport lounge access.
  • Evaluate the relevance and value of a card’s perks by anticipating how often you’ll actually use them.

Annual fee

  • The majority of premium travel cards come with an annual fee averaging $120.
  • You’ll want to assess whether the card’s rewards and money-saving perks (like travel insurance) will help you come out ahead and offer more value than the annual fee.

Eligibility requirements

  • The top travel cards tend to have specific income and credit score requirements (typically around $60,000 and 650 respectively).
  • Ensure you fit the requirements rather than applying blind because a hard check on your credit rating could decrease your score by up to 10 points. The best course of action is to research if a card has an income requirement and check your credit score before you apply (note: unlike when a card issuer or bank inquires about your score, checking your own credit score won’t impact it in any way).

What are the pros and cons of travel credit cards?


  • Collecting points or miles can save you money on travel expenses (flights, hotels, car rentals, etc.)
  • Comprehensive travel insurance packages 
  • Extra benefits such as VIP airport lounge access, priority boarding, complimentary checked baggage, etc.
  • Generous welcome offers that allow you to earn introductory points
  • Some cards will let you transfer your points to airline and hotel loyalty programs


  • Travel cards typically come with annual fees 
  • Point redemption flexibility may be affected by blackout periods
  • You may have to spend a certain amount on the card to take advantage of welcome offers
  • In some cases, you can lose your travel points/miles if your account is inactive for too long

How to apply for a travel credit card?

Check your eligibility

The first thing you'll want to do before applying for any new credit card is make sure you meet it's criteria for eligibility. While each card and provider may differ, in general you'll need:

  • Canadian residency or citizenship
  • A Canadian credit file
  • Age of majority status in your home province or territory
  • Annual income (this will depend on the card’s minimum income requirement)

Apply online

Once you're ready to apply online, simply click through the application portal on your provider's website and follow these steps:

  • Read and confirm the details, terms, and conditions of your chosen card.
  • Provide the personal information required (this usually includes your full name, date of birth, residential address, phone number, and email)
  • Provide your Social Insurance Number
  • Provide financial information such as your annual income and any recurring monthly expenses.
  • Confirm your identity by providing photos of an original government-issued ID such as a passport or driver’s license
  • Take an extra moment to look over the information you’ve supplied, then submit your application.

One important thing to note is that credit card applications almost always involve a hard credit check. While these will take a temporary bite out of your credit score, the damage is easy to bounce back from after a few months of responsible credit usage. Too many applications and credit checks at once, however, can cause serious damage to your credit and reduce your chances of being approved for credit cards, mortgages, or other loans in the future.

Redeeming travel credit card rewards

There are three main redemption models by which travel credit cards operate, with each having its own level of difficulty in terms of ease of use. Some rewards programs, like American Express Rewards, even let you access multiple models.

Consistent points programs

Consistent points programs live up to their name by offering unwavering point values. Regardless of the airline, hotel, destination, or time of the year, the value of each point remains the same.

The significant advantage of consistent points programs is their simplicity, making it easy to calculate the value of your rewards. However, it is worth highlighting that point values can fluctuate when redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, or statement credits.

Variable or flexible points programs

With variable or flexible points programs, points don't have a consistent value and change depending on various factors, such as travel destination and seasonality. These models are usually based on charts and tables that cardholders must consult to know the value of their points.

While these programs may introduce a degree of complexity into the redemption process, they offer a significant advantage: the potential to extract greater value out of each point. If you’re willing to invest time in research, they can offer unique and more generous redemption opportunities, like discounted business-class tickets or stays at ultra-premium hotels that might otherwise be out of reach. Additionally, you can maximize the value of your rewards by strategically planning your trips to specific destinations and during particular times of the year - a benefit not available when point values are consistent.

Point transfers

Point transfers allow you to transfer points from one rewards program to another and can be useful when trying to take advantage of multiple rewards programs. Not all point transfers are 1:1, so you will need to figure out the transfer ratio before moving ahead with the transfer. 

General travel cards versus co-branded travel cards

General travel cards

General travel cards are not tied to any specific airline or frequent flyer program. Points earned on these cards can be redeemed for travel with a wide range of flight carriers and hotel chains. The major appeal of general travel cards lies in their flexibility, allowing you to use your points for flights from literally hundreds of carriers of your choice. If you don’t frequently fly on a particular airline and prioritize flexibility over the benefits associated airline loyalty status, such as like priority check-in, then general travel cards are a better fit for you.

It’s worth noting that when redeeming points on a general travel card, in some cases, you will need to use the credit card’s proprietary travel agency (i.e. BMO Points must be redeemed on or with a BMO travel agent).

Co-branded travel cards

Co-branded credit cards are connected to a specific frequent flyer or loyalty program (e.g., Aeroplan, Air Miles, or Marriott Bonvoy), and are a testament to the old adage “loyalty pays.”

These cards can offer excellent value by allowing you to earn bonus rewards or discounts when you use the card at retailers, airlines, or hotels partnered with the co-branded credit card. In many cases, these cards also provide benefits like priority check-in, complimentary hotel stays, or free checked bags.

While these cards may lack flexibility since the points you earn can only be redeemed from one of the co-branded card’s partners, they can be the right choice for you if the card is associated with your favourite airline, hotel program, or retail network.

Best co-branded credit cards in Canada:

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

Marriott Bonvoy Card from American Express

WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard

Travel credit cards versus cash back credit cards

Unlike travel cards, which use a point-based reward system, cash back cards offer a percentage of cash back, especially when you use them to make specific types of purchases. Depending on the provider and card, you'll be free to redeem your cash back as a statement credit, use it to buy gift cards or merchandise, or put it into a savings account.

If you're wondering whether a travel rewards card or a cash back card is the better choice, consider your current lifestyle and what you like to spend money on. If you're currently travelling a lot and would only like to use your rewards on expenses like flights, accommodations, and car rentals, a travel rewards card will give you the most bang for your buck as these cards typically offer higher point values in that category.

If, however, you're going to be using the card for a wider variety of purchases, a solidly earning cash back card may be the better bet. These cards usually offer higher points in a wider variety of categories, giving you the flexibility to earn and redeem in different areas like groceries, gas, recurring bills, and more.

Common perks found on travel cards

When choosing a travel credit card, don't just focus on the welcome bonus and points/miles. Most travel cards also come with extra perks and benefits, which could sway your decision between two equally valuable cards. Some common perks to look out for include: 

Airport perks

Many travel credit cards offer a range of perks to enhance your air travel experience. These perks can include access to VIP lounges, complimentary checked baggage, priority boarding, and higher priority for seat upgrades. Additional benefits may encompass access to expedited security lanes (helping you get to your gate faster), ane even complimentary valet service.

No foreign transaction fees

One of the significant advantages of some travel credit cards is their elimination of foreign transaction fees. These fees can quickly add up when you're using your credit card abroad, but with the right travel credit card, you can avoid them altogether. This means you can make international purchases and travel with peace of mind, knowing that you won't incur additional charges for currency conversion. Whether you are shopping, dining, or booking accommodations overseas, a travel card without foreign transaction fees can save you money.

Hotel perks

Your travel credit card continues to provide benefits when you reach your hotel destination. For example, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card allows users to attain Gold Elite Status after using the card for ten stays at any of their hotels. At this level, cardholders can enjoy extra bonus points, late check-out, enhanced in-room internet service, and room upgrades (subject to availability). In addition, members gain access to exclusive room rates and a reservation guarantee.

Travel insurance

While many of us will happily devote endless hours to deciding what attractions and restaurants to hit on an upcoming vacation, few of us give as much attention to another crucial element of a successful trip: travel insurance.

Luckily, there are many travel credit cards (especially premium cards that carry an annual fee) that offer travel insurance as a key perk. While the variety, monetary amounts, and eligibility qualifications (like age) tend to vary, overall a travel credit card’s insurance offerings can be one of its most attractive benefits. That’s because buying travel insurance on your own could otherwise cost you around 4% to 10% of your total trip, meaning that a comprehensive insurance package could save you hundreds of dollars. Of course, those savings can exponentially increase if you need to make a claim.

Many of the best travel credit cards in Canada offer more than a dozen types of insurance, ranging from hotel burglary to trip interruption and delayed baggage coverage. The card and coverage that works best for you will depend on your travel needs.

Here’s a look at some of the main types of insurance:

Out-of-Province travel emergency medical

Travel accident coverage

Travel interruption coverage

Flight delay insurance

Lost / delayed baggage

Rental car collision loss / damage

Hotel / motel burglary

Important things to know about travel insurance

To get the most out of your credit card travel insurance, it’s vital to read the fine print. There’s an array of exclusions, eligibility requirements, and compensation amounts. Here are some key points:

  • For the insurance to kick in, requirements vary. You’ll usually need to charge anywhere from 75% to 100% of the cost of your trip to your card.
  • As noted above, coverage only lasts for a specific number of days depending on your age. Those 65 and older are usually only offered very limited (if any) coverage. You’ll need to pay out of pocket for extra travel days.
  • Most credit card insurance plans will cover not only the policyholder but also eligible travel companions like a spouse and dependent children. Check with your provider who is covered and for what specific monetary amounts.
  • Time can be crucial when making a claim. For example, many companies insist on being alerted beforehand (unless in extremely urgent circumstances) of any medical procedures like major surgeries. Many also have a set period in which a claim must be made, such as within three months of the event, or coverage will be forfeited.

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